Home is where the Love is – 

November 13, 2020 – An opera singer who also studied public relations is struggling to find work. His new roommate, released from prison a year ago, is trying to find his footing, too. A neighbor is focused on his sobriety. All three men live at the Lucerne Hotel, which used to offer spa services and valet parking to tourists on the Upper West Side.  “I don’t want to leave because of the love that we experienced,” said a resident of the Lucerne who goes by Shams DaBaron. That pause could end on Monday if a Manhattan Supreme Court justice decides to move the men to a Radisson Hotel in the Financial District instead of allowing them to stay for now.

Mr. DaBaron, 51, has become the de facto representative of the men at the hotel, a role that has kept him busy as he clings to sobriety.  The Lucerne became the focus for the debate on homeless hotels this summer after more than 200 men moved there in July. Some residents complained about increased loitering, drug use and public urination. A private Facebook group that now has more than 15,000 members became a forum that sometimes veered into racist, degrading language. A group of residents hired Randy Mastro, a powerful lawyer and former deputy mayor for Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani who has represented Mr. de Blasio in the past, to threaten a lawsuit against the city.

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